Four years ago, one of Supreet Raju’s friends made her download Tinder. This was around the same time that Gaurav Gupta moved base to Delhi from Manipal after spending a year in Chile. He was looking to meet new people in a city that isn’t very approachable. Raju explains, “The irony is that everyone I could potentially swipe right on was probably going to the same places as me in the city. As a woman, it’s unfathomable to be able to go up to someone and strike up a conversation.”
She considered using the dating app instead of just demurely waiting for someone to ask her out, and matched with 20 people in her first week, but hit it off with Gupta. “We matched on a Monday and by that Saturday we were sitting across from each other at a local haunt. One thing led to another and we were married two years later,” she says.
Their wedding was low key, but their honeymoon was legendary — a six month trip around the world covering 46 cities in 12 countries across 3 continents.
Post their wedding, the couple took two months to put together passports, papers, visas, bookings and the itinerary. “We got three main visas — Morocco, Schengen (covering Europe), and USA (which allows you to visit many other countries too). We were dependent on our visas to chart our path, but we had a vague idea that we wanted to go around the world in one loop. We researched every country, picked the must-dos and framed our itinerary accordingly. We also visited family and friends in Stockholm and USA,” says Raju, adding, “We didn’t pre-book any tickets, and each next destination was decided solely by airfares. Whatever was cheapest became our next stop. Also, we packed seriously light with one suitcase, one backpack and two personal laptop bags between us.”
Somewhat of an expert on packing and unpacking now, Raju shares tips for honeymooners who want to go on a prolonged vacation. “Do not over pack, forget style statements. If you’re on the road for six months, I recommend buying low-cost stuff that you can throw away if you run out of space in your suitcase,” she says.
Work and fun
The two work as freelance digital marketing consultants. And as luck would have it, they were smack in the middle of two work contracts that allowed them to work remotely. “We also consulted with companies during our travel. I don’t think we could have spent six months only vacationing,” Raju says.
They unanimously decided that it would be impossible to just be on vacation for six months straight, so they consulted on projects throughout their trip.
Raju celebrated her 29th birthday in Budapest, and Gupta turned 30 in Vegas. “For my birthday, a couple of friends from India joined us. It was a laid back summer day, we beer-biked around the historical centre and ended the day at a ruin bar, Szimpla Kert (Budapest is famous for its ruin bars).We drove to Vegas with Gaurav’s college friends from LA for his 30th birthday. We arrived just in time to ring in his birthday at midnight with our first slot machine. Vegas was a blur of hyperactivity, massive brunches, gambling, pool days and club nights. We packed a week’s worth into one day and barely slept. The energy in Vegas is infectious, so we felt like the whole city was partying with us,” she recalls, adding, “Some of the experiences we had, have stayed in our mind like pictures, such as getting a rare inside-tour of the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, watching molten lava bubbling at the Masaya volcano in Nicaragua without panicking and then going for a swim in the Apoyo Lagoon (a volcanic crater lake), visiting Ait-ben-Haddou, a Game of Thrones filming site since both of us are huge fans of the show, visiting the DMZ and North Korean border, and observing a real village across the border, and wearing traditional Hanboks, because tourists and young Koreans are encouraged to do so by getting free entry into the palace, and running all around Seoul,” she says.
The couple have great memories of the Airbnb accommodation they utilised. “We lived in an Art Gallery in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, a traditional Riad in Marrakech, and a Mexican cottage in Guanajuato, Mexico,” she says.
Managing the money
“Our main dealsaver was Gaurav’s (mostly) successful airline ticket hacks, which helped save us a lot of money! Apart from that, we mostly stayed at moderately priced places, and made calculated decisions,” says Raju, who claims that when they did splurge, it was well worth it, such as an overnight stay in the Sahara Desert, her husband’s 30th birthday in a suite at the Venetian in Vegas, white water rafting and ziplining in Costa Rica, and tickets for their first Broadway musical Miss Saigon in New York City. “Our main rule was never to scrimp — no dorms, no supermarket meals and hailing taxis if the situation demanded it,” she says.
Partners in life
The two claim that travelling together has made their bond stronger. “When you travel with a person, you find out so many little things about each other — from their travel style to things as inane as their reaction to missing a train. By staying calm during difficult times and cheering each other up on dull days, I think you discover what being a partner truly means. Being on the road long-term is not easy, both physically and emotionally,” says Raju.
Travelling teaches you a lot about yourself, she adds. “I once thought I was being chased in Marrakech and ran for my life through the Medina, and I didn’t even know I was capable of that. I think you just realise how much your thought process and behaviour can change when you’re taken out of your comfort zone. Being born and raised in Delhi, there’s a certain familiarity. Cut to walking in pitch darkness in Mexico, not speaking the language, and a different part of your personality comes out. I don’t know if it’s changed my life, but we’ve come out of it better people, better partners and with memories to last a lifetime,” she says.
The biggest back-to-the-grind moment for the couple was coming back to Delhi and setting up a home. “We continue to travel a fair bit, and having flexible jobs means we can still sneak in a bit of fun. We have set up a home we love, filled with lots of friends, family and social chaos — life is pretty good,” says Raju.